A grab bag to begin 2013
by Ron Swift | Patterson Irrigator
Jan 03, 2013 | 893 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Ron Swift
Ron Swift
Let’s start the New Year with a clean desk — mine.

You may or may not have noticed that TV commercials aren’t quite as loud in recent weeks. That’s because a new law titled the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act (CALM — clever, ah!) went into effect in mid-December. You be the judge.

And an upcoming change will be the first-class mail rate. It went up a penny to 45 cents for the first ounce early last year and will rise another penny on Jan. 27. I’ve heard comments that the running-in-the-red U.S. Postal Service should jump it to 50 cents and stash away a few bucks. Good idea.

But the Postal Service has another rate change that’s a great idea — $1.10 for the first ounce to mail a letter anywhere in the world.

On the local scene, I and others hear regularly from Rick Barron, owner of Blues Café and author of weekly words of wisdom he titles “The World According to Blues.” Rick often hits the nail on the head with his pithy observations, which he keeps short and to the point. He’s proof that at least some citizens are keeping their sanity while the rest of the world gets more and more wacky.

By the way, a persistent Patterson rumor has it that news reporters are looking into what could be called “irregularities” in the November race for the City Council. No illegalities have as yet been proven, so the rumor goes, but false statements on the campaign trail. No insight here from this newspaper’s editorial staff, but plenty of comment on the street, which if true needs to be addressed. Stay tuned.

Here’s a note for local old-timers. Word has been received of the recent death of Ray Chapman, owner and editor of the Irrigator from 1954-60. Ray was 89 and had resided in the Sacramento area. He was a Stanford graduate and U.S. Navy veteran who married Ruth Christopherson, sister of Bob Christopherson of Patterson. She preceded him in death many years ago. They had five boys who survive. Burial will be today (Thursday) in the San Luis National Cemetery.

And finally, Patterson Boy Scout Troop 81 has room to boast as the year begins. No fewer than nine of its members are planning to attend the 2013 National Scout Jamboree this summer in West Virginia. The event will draw more than 40,000 Scouts from all 50 states and a few foreign countries.

Patterson has for 30 years sent numerous Scouts to the Jamboree, held every four years on the East Coast.

But get this: The Greater Yosemite Council, which includes troops from no fewer than six counties, is sending only one troop of 36 boys and four adult leaders. In straight math, Patterson Scouts will make up a quarter of the troop.

At a cost of more than $2,000 a Scout, the troop under the leadership of Scoutmaster Kelly Pedron has been raising funds for some time, and parents have been digging deep.

Bringing in 2013

If you stayed awake long enough Monday night, you undoubtedly heard the New Year arrive with fireworks, gunshots and maybe a siren or two.

Part of that ruckus may have been coming from North Third Street. That’s because Gene Wheeland, a Nebraska native who has spent about 75 years living in Patterson, turned 90 on the stroke of midnight Jan. 1 — plenty of reason to celebrate.

We have every expectation of several more area residents joining our 90-plus list in ’13. Congratulations, Gene, on being the first.

By the way, we’ll be reprinting the entire list very soon.

Cartoon of the week

It was my sister-in-law up in Oregon who sent me this delightful cartoon over the holidays.

Two Native Americans are shown staring off into the distance at smoke signals. One says to the other, “Makes you wonder how we ever managed without it.”

I liked it immensely.

Heaven and hell

The emails were flying over the holidays, and this description of Heaven and Hell was among the best.

Heaven — where the police are British, the chefs are Italian, the mechanics are German, the lovers are French and the place is organized by the Swiss.

Hell — where the police are German, the chefs are British, the mechanics are French, the lovers are Swiss and the Italians do the organizing.

For the sports fan

As were most 49er fans, I was worried about last Sunday’s game with the Cardinals. And as the game progressed, I became more and more worried. That’s because if the Niners had scored many more touchdowns and continued to throw the ball into the stands, the game might have been called for “lack of ball.”

As you may already know, Kentucky women cagers are 12-1 and ranked No. 7 in the country. So why, just after Christmas, were the Lady Wildcats were playing Alcorn State, a team they beat 90-23? Kentucky led 44-11 at halftime and went on to score more points after the intermission than before.

But that game isn’t all. Earlier in the season, the Wildcats blasted Bellarmine, 113-33. And on Sunday they trounced Marist. Shameful.

And finally…

Isn’t this the truth:

If all of the cars in the world were lined up end to end, some California driver would be stupid enough try to pass them.

Keep those resolutions.

Ron Swift is editor/publisher emeritus of the Patterson Irrigator. He can be reached at ronkay@gvni.com.

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